Friday, April 24, 2015

Review of The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret

Title/Author: The Devilish Mr. Danvers (The Rakes of Fallow Hall #2) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She's inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what's hers. No one except Rafe Danvers — the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He's determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn't careful, he'll claim her heart as well.

Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley — the younger sister of his former fiancée — standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can't seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can't help falling in love with her.

So I really like Vivienne Lorret's writing. Her historical romances always manage to entertain me, so I was excited to start The Devilish Mr. Danvers! Because the 'rakes of Fallow Hall' are very interesting and I'd already met Mr. Danvers in the first book in the series.

Hedley is a likeable main character. She's determined to make it on her own, and she doesn't really seem to know when she should just admit defeat and go ask for help. I mean, freezing your ass off in a house that you got to on foot all on your own and then basically not accepting when your neighbour wants to help you build a fire or gather firewood or any such thing seems a little too stubborn to me. She sometimes toed the line of too-stupid-to-live territory, but she just managed to stay on the right side of things. I did like that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty while she's trying to make her home actually inhabitable. Also, her willingness to try and get over a fear that has deep roots is admirable, and I could totally understand why she would be terrified in those situations, that's a majorly traumatising event!

I REALLY hated her family though. They were nasty and hateful and just did not seem to care for Hedley one bit. I mean, seriously? They hid her away in the attic and are trying to steal her inheritance and when that doesn't work, they just start destroying it?? I mean, SERIOUSLY??? How can you do that to someone who is family? I was very much less than impressed with them, they were just bad people.

I liked Rafe, with his misguided attempts to set Hedley up with one of the other rakes. I mean, obviously he's attracted to her from the start and then he's trying to deny his feelings and there was some wonderful angst about this and Hedley being hurt because he said some less than thoughtful things and yeah. I liked it. I thought they were good together, though if I'd been Hedley, I'd probably would have at least made him apologize for saying some of the things he did. I mean, she forgives him a little too easily in my opinion. But I could definitely work with their romance.

I actually read The Devilish Mr. Danvers in only a couple of hours. Vivienne Lorret's writing always keeps me interested to find out how the couple will get to their happily ever after and what obstacles will get in the way first. And this one was no different. While I wasn't really blown away by it, I did like it and it was a nice fluffy read.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Title/Author: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything — how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me — and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Reading this book was a bit of a rush, I was SO in the zone that I didn't even really mind that it took them an extra hour to finish up doing work on my car.

It's kinda hard for me to review 99 Days though, because I'm a little conflicted. On one hand I really liked Katie Cotugno's writing and was totally sucked into the lives of Molly, Gabe and Patrick, but on the other hand I was also really cringing at what was happening in this novel and I think that the awesome writing in the end tipped the scale in favor of my very much enjoying 99 Days.

Molly is a flawed character, she cheated on her boyfriend Patrick five minutes after he broke up with her, so technically it's not cheating, but still. And it's with his BROTHER. I mean, yeah, that's basically not ok. BUT I'm all for not judging someone until you know the full story and even though Patrick being a douche isn't an excuse for cheating on him, I can get how it happened. I'm not saying that makes it ok, but I could understand what made her do it. And then Molly spends the summer in her hometown after being gone all year and I was just so with her in her struggle with her feelings for both boys, even though I had a clear favourite, because let's face it, Patrick didn't do much of anything for me and the further we got into the story, the more I thought he was a douche.

I loved Molly's friendship with Imogen and Tess, even though something really bad happens that Imogen labels as 'against Ovary Code', which basically makes me love Imogen even more. Molly burned a lot of bridges when she just up and left home and it has an impact on her friendship with Imogen, which is only logical and I liked seeing them mend this over the summer.
Also, I thought there was a really important subject adressed in 99 Days: slut shaming. Molly gets a boatload of crap about cheating on Patrick and then some. And Gabe just cruises by, and nobody wants to egg his house or key his car and he doesn't get alienated by everyone. It's not fair and this double standard happens all the time and speaking up about it is way overdue.

Also, let me gush a bit about Gabe. Gabe is awesome. So obviously he's not perfect either, cause he slept with his brother's girlfriend, BUT he's just nice and easygoing and accepts Molly for who she is and is very supportive. And also, he sounds totally hot. And I loved how he gets insecure and vulnerable around Molly cause he truly cares for her. It was really sweet.

So Molly and Patrick work some of their shit out over the summer and it's definitely NOT pretty and about halfway through I got this sense of doom of things going down and OMG, I was right and it was AWFUL and I could just not stop reading! Molly really messes up and though I'm again not ok with this, I cannot help but understand how she gets into this situation. I just wanted to shake her and tell her to start making better decisions! But also, I wanted to hug her after and tell her it would be ok in the end and I wished she would have talked about this with Imogen sooner, cause that's what friends are for.

There is no sugarcoating what goes down in 99 Days, and it's definitely not all pretty, but it felt real and I am blown away by the awesomeness that is Katie Cotugno's writing and how she made me root for characters that I didn't necessarily always LIKE. So yeah, I though this was definitely worth reading.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review of Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London

Title/Author: Aimee and the Hearttrob (Backstage Pass #1) by Ophelia London
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, April 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: He never noticed her before, but now she’s all he can see…

Miles Carlisle is every teen girl’s fantasy. His rugged good looks and exotic British accent have helped catapult his boy band, Seconds to Juliet, to super-stardom. But after two disastrous and very public breakups, Miles isn’t interested in dating just any girl; he wants The One. And the only girl he’s interested in is not only his best friend’s little sister ― and off-limits ― but won’t even give him the time of day…

As a kid, Aimee Bingham had a huge thing for Miles... until he made fun of her for always tagging along. Now that she’s outgrown both him and her pigtails. the prospect of spending two weeks on tour with the childhood crush who broke her heart isn’t exactly enticing. Except now Miles seems interested. Very interested. And no matter how hard Aimee tries to resist him, her crush is definitely making a comeback.

But everyone knows that falling for a heartthrob is a backstage pass to heartbreak...

I think everyone probably has had a celebrity-crush at some point. But what if said celebrity is someone you knew before they made it big and what if they return your crush? I was expecting all kinds of cuteness when I started Aimee and the Heartthrob.
And it was cute, it was fun and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't blow me away or made me fall in love along with Aimee. And I like have book crushes, so that's a shame.

I liked Aimee, but it bothered me a bit to have yet another YA heroine be like 'I didn't know I was beautiful', when all the boys think she's really hot. I mean, come on, girl owns a mirror right? It's just been done so many times before and it gets old. But aside from that, I liked her, it's obviously a bonus that she's a big reader and also a book reviewer, how cool is that? It's a shame that side of her wasn't a bigger part of the novel, I would have loved it if it was!

Miles was ok, I mean, I get the whole crush on the big brother's best friend thing and he's British, which mostly works in a guy's favor and then he also writes songs. I get it. I just wasn't that impressed by him otherwise. Like I mentioned before, I didn't fall in love along with Aimee, while Miles was a decent enough guy, I wasn't really into him myself.

And then there's the drama moment. I would have thought that it would have been angst with Aimee's brother finding out about them, and there is some of that. But mostly it's about something else and I could definitely get that it wigged Miles out when he saw it. I mean, yeah, I would have been a bit taken aback as well. BUT I also feel that his reaction to it and refusing to let Aimee explain was uncalled for. And it bothered me that after there's been a misunderstanding between them earlier, he'd just not communicate. It felt a bit like drama for the drama and not really relevant plotwise.

But Aimee and the Heartthrob did keep me entertained in the quiet moments of my nightshift and while it's not perfect, it was an enjoyable read. It's pretty entertaining seeing how things work behind the scenes of a boyband and Aimee and Miles did have some cute, fluffy moments that made me smile.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tag: Burn, Rewrite, or Reread?

My friend Debby from Snuggly Oranges tagged me to do a Burn, Rewrite or Reread thing and obviously I'm more than happy to play ;)

The rules: randomly pick three books you’ve read, and then decide which you would burn, rewrite or reread. Sorta like Kiss, Marry, Kill, only with books. I used a random number generator and my Goodreads shelf.

So let's do this :)

Round One

Burn: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper: This book just fell really, REALLY flat for me. I love books about witches and I just couldn't get excited about reading it and it was just a huge dud for me.

Reread: Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez: I thought this book was amazing and I'm slightly ashamed that I still haven't read any of the author's other books yet. This turned out to be one of my 'beach reads', somehow Summer is the perfect season for me to tackle big books.

Rewrite: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis: it's actually a bit painful for me to have to pick rewrite for this one, because I did very much enjoy the whole series, but this one just was a little less magical for me as some of the other books in the series.

Round Two

Burn: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno: I didn't actually think this book was bad, it didn't blow me away, and it could have been better, but it's mostly my love for the other two that makes me pick burn for this one.

Reread: Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett: THIS BOOK! You guys, this book came out in December of 2011 and there really hasn't been enough buzz about it! I totally loved it, it's amazing! There are real issues and character growth and THE BOY! The boy is everything.

Rewrite: The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen: it is actually painful to pick rewrite for The Rogue Pirate's Bride, cause I loved this book as well, but I loved Geek Girl more, and I had to choose and OMG THIS IS SO HARD. But this is an amazing historical romance featuring a PIRATE. And I totally have a thing for pirate's, so...

Round Three

Reread: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: SO MUCH LOVE for this book!! I just cannot with my love for Aria and Perry and Roar and I should really reread this cause it's been AGES and I still have to read the other two books in the series...

Burn: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard: this book was a huge disappointment after I really enjoyed The Madman's Daughter and if the first book had been like this, I probably would have stopped reading right there. I am glad I stuck with it though, cause A Cold Legacy was much better and sort of redeemed the blahness of this one.

Rewrite: Prophecy by Ellen Oh: No matter what my opinion on the other two books in this series, I did enjoy this first book. But I do very much feel that there was all this potential to be completely awesome that it didn't quite live up to. But come on, a non-European based fantasy with DRAGONS, I would read that any day, I just wish the execution had been a little better, especially in book 2 and 3.

So Round 2 was painful... But it has made me all excited to maybe go and actually start rereading some books :)

I tag:

And of course YOU

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review of The Pretty App by Katie Sise

Title/Author: The Pretty Ap (App #2) by Katie Sise
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, April 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to — okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect — just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.

Then Harrison — and every other high school in America — becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show — in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win.

And nobody is there to make friends.

So I'd heard good things about The Boyfriend App and when I came across this companion, I thought well, why not? It sounded pretty cute and I am a big fan of America's Next Top Model and this sounded sorta like it mixed with a beauty pageant, so...

Well, let's just say that The Pretty App wasn't all I'd hoped it would be. I mean, Blake was ok, she's a flawed character, but she owns it and I kinda respected her for that. I also respected that she wanted to change, but just didn't know how. And I liked reading from the Queen Bee's POV for a change. We're pretty much always seeing things from the not-so-popular, not-really-ugly duckling side of things and I liked that Katie Sise switched it up. I also really felt for Blake with her family situation. I mean, she basically gets NO support whatsoever. Her dad is just plain hurtful, her mom doesn't stand up to him and her sister cut her out of her life 4 years ago. How is a girl supposed to cope with this?

I did sorta feel like I was missing things because I hadn't read The Boyfriend App first. The history between Blake and Audrey is mentioned and sort of gotten into what happened, but maybe I'd have more of a backstory if I'd read The Boyfriend App? I can't be sure of course, but it felt like there were some missing pieces that I should have been clued into if I'd read the companion.

And ok, don't kill me for saying this, but the whole Pretty App thing and the show around it felt so American to me! I mean, not in a bad way, but like, I'm not sure that would have gotten this kind of response in Holland. I kinda liked how Blake handled herself during the reality show, but I could also get how people aren't all that eager to forgive her for years of ruthlessly ruling Harrison High. You can't just erase all of that. So it also sorta felt off to me how easily the Trogs accepted her in their circle. Also, the Trogs seem like awesome people.

I couldn't really get behind the romance part of it. It all felt a little too iffy and all the lying or not fully telling the truth and then Blake totally got blindsided and it was just pretty awful. But mostly, I just wasn't feeling it. There was something off about the guy and I was never really sure if he was faking it or not and that bothered me.

Mostly, The Pretty App was an ok read, but it wasn't exciting or cute or fluffy or funny or any of the things I was expecting. And for a tagline that says it has a big-time romance, it fell pretty flat for me. I am however very curious to read The Boyfriend App!

My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review of A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Title/Author: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, April 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home.

I read and adored Susanna Kearsley's The Rose Garden a couple of years ago, it was SO amazing. And since I have pretty much been eyeing all her other books, but never found the time to actually read one. Until now. And it was awesome.

I love how Susanna Kearsley takes an unknown, normal woman in history and weaves a story around her. It makes my heart very happy. And in A Desperate Fortune, I loved both the story set in the present and the one in the past.
Mary Dundas has been left behind by her father as a child, and was taken in by her aunt and uncle. Who, while being good guardians, are not her own parents and she misses her father and brothers. But Mary's personality has not suffered because of it, she's strong and determined and works through whatever gets in her way. And also, I love how she cares for her little dog. I mean, she took him in when he was left behind by his 'family' and I can totally get how she relates to this. She's smart and I loved her storytelling abilities, she's pretty amazing.

Sara Thomas also totally stole my heart. She's been diagnosed with Asperger's and while she's not always the most socially adept person, she manages very well and I just loved her. Someone told her that she's not capable of being in a relationship and it's hurtful and I totally adored how the man in her life gets her to give him a chance by using logic. When she tells him it won't work because her other relationships didn't work, he reasons that in those other relationship the man wasn't him and therefore it may work this time. I loved how he's really in this and is actively chasing this woman that is wonderful and intelligent and has a lot of heart. And I loved that with the right person, it doesn't have to be a struggle to be in a relationship for Sara, she doesn't have to prove herself or be anyone other than herself.
And I also totally adored her bonding with the little boy, who was pretty darn cute himself.

So basically, there are also two lovestories and I loved both of them! There's the strong, protective man in Mary's story that I just wanted to hug and yell at him to tell her how much he cares about her. And to Mary herself as well! OMG, these two communicate in the end and I get how it wasn't normal in that time period to talk about your feelings for each other, but WOW I just wanted them to get together and KISS ALREADY. It was pretty sweet seeing them fall for each other.

I loved disovering along with Sara what happened to Mary and I'm glad we got more details than Sara did from the diary. I wouldn't have survived not knowing what happened to Mary and Hugh and the little dog. But mostly I just loved Susanna Kearsley's amazing writing that totally sucked me in and made me want to keep reading and then after finishing it, hug my e-reader to my chest and breathe a happy sigh.
This book was amazing. Go read it.

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review of Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Title/Author: Dream a Little Dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, April 15th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals.

The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery...

So this was actually the first book I finished in 2015 because I hadn't noticed that the publication date had been moved to April. So. Daisy fail. But as I was very much excited to read it, I didn't mind so much. And guys, it was SO GOOD!

I've never actually read anything by Kerstin Gier before, I do own her other series, but I haven't actually gotten around to starting it, but I immediately fell in love with her writing! There's just something so fresh and fun about it and I found myself just wanting to keep on reading. And as I had struggled a bit with the two books I read before Dream a Little Dream, which were also pretty gloomy, this was just what I needed.

I think what I loved most about this book were Liv and Mia. Those two are just so amazing and I wanted to hug them and be friends with them and they are just my kind of girls. Their reactions to the things that got thrown at them because of their mother's incompetence in communicating and just being more than a bit selfish in my opinion, were just so genuine! But mostly I loved how they were sisters. There's just something about that sibling bond and it was beautifully done here.
There were many things I could love about Liv, she's funny, intelligent and has a backbone. Also, I loved the way she described things and her view of the world and everyone in it made me giggle a lot of times. And I firmly believe that she has a good heart.
And you've got to love Mia for making sheep-noises when she sees her sister join the tons of girls who've gone crazy over a boy.

And let's talk about the boy. Because the boy was very nice and I could definitely ship those two together. They were so sweet! I could also potentially ship Liv with one of the other boys, but I'll let you figure that one out yourself. But at the moment I'm happy with the situation with Liv and The Boy. They're very much alike and I liked that he appreciated her for the things I loved about her. Also, it was just a whole lot of cute.

I'm very much intrigued by the whole dream and demon situation and I don't think it's quite over yet! Which is fairly obvious when you remember it's a book series, but still. I loved how the different doors to people's dreamworlds matches their personality and how they can be locked and secured with riddles and passwords and such. LOVED it. Also, I loved the dreamworld of Henry's little sister. I wish my dreams were like that! I felt that basically anything is possible in the dreamworld Kerstin Gier describes and it was just so lush and amazing! I would have been drawn to it and would want to know everything about it like Liv.

Basically, if you're looking for a fantasy that is a whole lot of fun with a loveable main character, I'm saying you should read this. Because it was awesome and I'm dying to find out how Liv and everyone else is going to get in trouble in the next book. And I also want to know whether or not Lottie (the au pair) will have HEA of her own, cause I didn't mention her before, but she's the best kind of person there is.

My rating: 5 stars